Austin Mahone vs. Justin Bieber

by Noiz 17. April 2014 09:51

Austin Mahone vs. Justin Bieber

It’s finally here.  Or at least, we finally have a date for when it will be here.

Teenage superstar Austin Mahone will release his highly anticipated debut album on May 27.  He also released the album’s title.  It will be called The Secret.  Up until this point in his career, the heartthrob has only released one EP and seven singles.

It’s amazing that Austin Mahone has become a household name on the strength of eight songs.  Clearly, this is not your father’s music biz anymore.

The Announcement
Austin announced details of album and his tour on his 18th birthday.  That’s a pretty cool way to celebrate becoming an adult.  On my 18th birthday the only thing I announced was a “B” in geometry.

“Thank you for supporting me and sticking with me all this time. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday than to be able to announce new music and a huge tour for all you guys!” —Austin Mahone

The Tour
To promote his pending opus, Mahone has plotted a decent-sized tour of North America.  The trek launches July 25 in San Antonio, Texas (his hometown) and concludes Sept. 9 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Highlights of “MTV’s Artist to Watch Tour” include the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles on July 30; the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Aug. 20; and The Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri on Sept. 5.

The Vamps, Fifth Harmony, Shawn Mendes, and Alex Angelo have been tapped to perform opening duties at select shows.

The Stakes
This is not only a great time to be an Austin Mahone fan but a great time to be Austin Mahone.  Without a doubt this is the biggest year of his young music career.  But is it a make or break year?  It definitely is a make or break year, but if his past successes are any indication, Mr. Mahone is going to crush it in 2014.

Austin vs. Justin
I don’t think it’s fair to either artist but when you’re 25 months apart, and both successful pop singers, you’re going to be compared to one another.  I’m of course talking about Austin Mahone being compared to Justin Bieber.  Whether they like it or not—whether we like it or not—the two will be linked for the rest of their long careers.

“I want people to see that I'm my own artist.  I'm making a path for myself.”—Austin Mahone

Just how similar are they?  Just how different are they?  Below, I compare and contrast the artists in a variety of categories.  As you’ll soon learn, the two singers DO have a lot in common but they also have some noticeable differences.  These differences clearly indicate that Austin Mahone is anything but a Justin Bieber clone.

Relationship
No, I’m not talking about Justin Bieber’s on-again and off-again romance with Selena Gomez.  I’m talking about the bromance between Austin and Justin. 

Recently, Austin and Justin spent some time together in a recording studio in Los Angeles.  Justin had a song he thought would be awesome to record with Austin.  Several photos of their studio session were posted on the internet.

"It's amazing. It was really weird being in the studio with him cause I did cover a lot of songs of his in the beginning.  He's just [really] talented and works real well in the studio." —Austin Mahone

During a break in recording the two played hoops, and afterwards, Justin treated Austin to dinner to celebrate his 18th birthday. 

Rivalry
The recording session was not the first time the two pinups have met, but will it be the last?  I mean, was this really two buddies making music together or was Justin just keeping his enemies closer?  I’m going to give Justin the benefit of the doubt and say his intentions were admirable.  But if Austin’s album and tour take off (like we all know they will), and he begins to cut into Bieber’s bottom line, then all bets are off.

Age
Austin just celebrated his 18th birthday (April 4, 1996).  Justin just turned 20 (March 1, 1994).  Together they’re the same age as Michael Bublé, Jack White, and Jack Johnson

Austin celebrated the “big one-eight” in Miami.  Before having dinner with friends and family, he tootled around South Beach on his Segway and drove around in his matching Range Rover. 

I’m no swagger coach or anything, but judging from their videos, it looks to me like they are trying to make Austin look younger and Bieber look older.  I’m just saying.

Music
It’s hard to compare the two musically since Austin’s repertoire is so small, but I’m going to do it anyways.  Austin’s music is pop mixed with hip hop, EDM, and some rap.  Justin’s sound has a more soulful and R&B feel.  That makes sense since Austin is signed to Cash Money Records and Justin is a protégé of Usher. 

Charts
Justin has really thrown the gauntlet down when it comes to chart success.  Justin has released three studio albums and all three have gone to number one on the Billboard 200.  He also sent two remix albums to that chart’s pinnacle position. 

When it comes to the charts, there is one thing that neither artist has done… yet.  And that’s notch a number one single in the United States.  The closest Justin came was “Boyfriend.”  In 2012, that single peaked at number two.  It will take Austin a while to post three number one albums but he can beat Justin to the top of the singles chart long before then.

Nationality
Austin is not just an American.  He’s a Texan too!  Austin hails from San Antonio.  As everyone knows, Justin is Canadian.  What many don’t know is Justin has zero interest in becoming a U.S. citizen.  He’s living in America on a 0-1 visa.

Family
Both Austin and Justin were raised by single mothers.  Austin’s father died when he was a year and half old.  Justin’s mother was 17 when she had Justin and never married his father.  Although Justin’s dad was in his life, he was really raised by his mother.

Fans
Again, this is a hard category to compare the two since Austin’s career is basically just starting and Justin (even at 20) is an established mega-superstar.  Even so, both dudes have names for their loyal legions of fans.  Austin’s supporters call themselves “Mahomies” while Justin’s followers are “Beliebers.”  I don’t know about you but I like “Mahomies” much better.

Social Media
Here’s a breakdown of the two artist’s popularity on social media.  Remember, Justin has a huge head start on Austin.

Twitter
Austin – 5.76 million followers
Justin – 51 million followers

Facebook
Austin – 9.3 million likes
Justin – 65.5 million likes

YouTube
Austin’s Channel – 1,179,169 subscribers
Justin’s channel – 9,229,612 subscribers

Live
Justin has two mammoth treks under his belt, the 2010 My World Tour and the 2012 Believe Tour.  Combined, those two jaunts had Justin performing 292 concerts.  In 2013, Austin opened for Bridgit Mendler 25 times and Taylor Swift for five more.  His upcoming tour will be Austin’s first opportunity to really flex his performance muscles. 

Acting
Austin has appeared as himself on episodes of Big Time Rush and Awesomeness TV.  His big television role came in 2014 when he played a younger version of the character “Adam” on the hit CBS sitcom The Millers.  Of course, Justin has Austin trumped with his two appearances on another CBS show, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.  Justin played “Jason McCann.”

Conclusion
Both Austin and Justin were discovered on YouTube.  Justin released his first single when he was 15 and Austin when he was 16.  Justin is one of the most powerful celebrities in the world and Austin is well on his way to becoming a superstar.  The future is bright for both young men.  The only thing that is really standing in their way is each other. 

Austin Mahone - MTV’s Artist to Watch Tour 2014
>>July 25 - Austin Mahone in San Antonio, TX @ Freeman Coliseum
>>July 26 - Austin Mahone in Houston, TX @ NRG Arena
>>July 27 - Austin Mahone in Grand Prairie, TX @ Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
>>July 29 - Austin Mahone in Phoenix, AZ @ Comerica Theatre
>>July 30 - Austin Mahone in Los Angeles, CA @ Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE
>>July 31 - Austin Mahone in Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
>>Aug. 2 - Austin Mahone in San Jose, CA @ Event Center at San Jose State University
>>Aug. 4 - Austin Mahone in Redmond, WA @ Marymoor Park Amphitheatre
>>Aug. 6 - Austin Mahone in Salt Lake City, UT @ Maverik Center
>>Aug. 7 - Austin Mahone in Broomfield, CO @ 1stBank Center
>>Aug. 9 - Austin Mahone in Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom
>>Aug. 10 - Austin Mahone in Minneapolis, MN @ U.S. Bank Theatre at Target Center
>>Aug. 13 - Austin Mahone in Toronto, ON @ T.D. Echo Beach
>>Aug. 16 - Austin Mahone in Manchester, NH @ Verizon Wireless Arena
>>Aug. 19 - Austin Mahone in Baltimore, MD @ Pier Six Pavilion
>>Aug. 20 - Austin Mahone in East Rutherford, NJ @ Izod Center
>>Aug. 21 - Austin Mahone in Philadelphia, PA @ The Mann
>>Aug. 26 - Austin Mahone in Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE Outdoors
>>Aug. 27 - Austin Mahone in Cincinnati, OH @ U.S. Bank Arena
>>Aug. 29 - Austin Mahone in Greensboro, NC @ White Oak Amphitheatre
>>Aug. 30 - Austin Mahone in Charleston, SC @ Family Circle Stadium
>>Aug. 31 - Austin Mahone in Simpsonville, SC @ Charter Amphitheatre
>>Sept. 2 - Austin Mahone in Birmingham, AL @ Boutwell Auditorium
>>Sept. 5 - Austin Mahone in Saint Louis, MO @ The Fabulous Fox Theatre
>>Sept. 6 - Austin Mahone in Whites Creek, TN @ The Woods at Fontanel
>>Sept. 9 - Austin Mahone in Cleveland, OH @ Wolstein Center

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Mayhem Festival Gets Underway July 5

by Noiz 16. April 2014 07:02

Mayhem Festival Gets Underway July 5

July 4.

I’d tell you to circle it on your calendar but it’s already marked.  It’s Independence Day after all.  Well, in 2014 the Fourth of July is the last sane day of the summer before mayhem takes over.

On July 5, the seventh annual Mayhem Festival kicks off in San Bernardino, California at the San Manuel Amphitheatre.  This year the “world’s biggest heavy music touring festival” is slated to visit 25 cities including Phoenix, Milwaukee, Toronto, Atlanta, and Dallas.

The summer will finally get back to normal on Aug. 11.  That’s because the night before, the festival rolls into the Houston area, and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, for the year’s final installment of mayhem.   

The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival was founded in 2008 by John Reese and Kevin Lyman.  Since its formation, the festival has tallied more than 160 shows and collected tickets from more than 1.7 million head bangers.

The Lineup
And now for the question every Mayhem Festival fan wants answered and that’s who’s on the marquee?  Headlining this year’s tour is Avenged Sevenfold and Korn.  AX7 is still promoting their 2013 release, Hail to the King, while Korn is pushing their latest LP, The Paradigm Shift, which also dropped last year. 

Other groups scheduled to appear include Asking Alexandria, Trivium, Cannibal Corpse, Suicide Silence, Emmure, Miss May I, and Mushroomhead.  In total, Mayhem has tapped 20 bands to melt faces and blowout ear drums.

Body Count
Unless Mariska Hargitay suddenly forms a band that gets booked in a traveling music festival, Mayhem is the only place you’ll be able to see a cast member of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit perform on stage this summer.

Ice-T, who plays detective Odafin Tutuola on the aforementioned NBC crime drama, will be at Mayhem fronting his band Body Count.   The actor and singer formed Body Count in 1990 with guitarist Ernie C.  Rounding out the group is guitarist Bendrix, bassist Vincent Price, and drummer Ill Will.  Three of Body Count’s original members—Beatmaster V, Mooseman, and D-Roc the Executioner—are no longer with us.

Stages
The 2014 Mayhem Festival features four stages.  The Rockstar Energy Drink Main Stage hosts the headliners as well as Asking Alexandria and Trivium.  The other three stages are the Coldcock American Herbal Whiskey Stage, The Sumerian Records/Headbang for the Highway Stage, and The Victory Records Stage.

For years, the Mayhem Festival had just three stages.  Organizers expanded to four in 2013. 

Rockstar Energy Drink Main Stage
Avenged Sevenfold
Korn
Asking Alexandria
Trivium

Coldcock American Herbal Whiskey Stage
Cannibal Corpse
Suicide Silence
Miss May I
Mushroomhead
Texas Hippie Coalition
King 810

The Sumerian Records/Headbang For The Highway Stage
Body Count featuring Ice-T
Upon A Burning Body*
Veil of Maya*
Darkest Hour*
Headbang Local Winner
*bands rotating slots

The Victory Records Stage
Emmure
Ill Nino
Wretched
Islander
Erimha

Motorsports
During the festival, if you need a break from the metal you can always enjoy some motor, as in motorsports.  Booked for the 2014 Mayhem Festival is the motorcross madness of Jimmy Fitzpatrick and his Fitz Army.  Just so you know Fitzpatrick is billed as a “freestyle motocross legend.” 

The motorized fun doesn’t stop there.  Also on the marquee is the motorcycle riding team of UNKNOWN.   The group performs thrilling freestyle tricks on Harleys.  The things they can do on a motorcycle will blow your mind.

“Over the years I have went to The Bay area date of the Rockstar Mayhem Festival to check out bands and see the Freestyle Motocross demo; I am excited to join the tour, bring our Harley’s and put on our riding demos every day.” — Nick Leonetti, UNKNOWN Industries co-founder and rider.

Exceptions
Just like in year’s past, not every band will appear at every tour stop.  Below is a list of Mayhem Festival dates with revised lineups.

>>On July 14, Mayhem comes to Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado.  Due to the size of that venue only Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Asking Alexandria, Trivium, and Body Count will perform.

>>On July 30, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, New York hosts the Mayhem Festival.  That night, only the main stage acts will be on hand: Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Asking Alexandria, and Trivium.

>>On Aug. 10, for the show at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, be ready to see all the bands on the main stage and the Coldcock Stage as well as Body Count and Emmure.  The only exception is King 810.  They will not be participating.

>>The July 18 Mayhem Festival, scheduled for Milwaukee, is the most unique entry on the itinerary.  It’s being billed as "A Taste of Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival” due to the fact that Avenged Sevenfold and Korn won’t be there.

>>The tour’s first two shows, July 5 in San Bernardino and July 6 in Mountain View, will be held without the services of Emmure.

Complaining
Fans always grumble over the lineup of musical festivals.  Heavy metal festivals seem to draw more complaints than their counterparts.  And of all the heavy metal festivals, Mayhem seems to gets people’s dander up the most. 

Search for news stories about the “Mayhem Festival” and then check out the articles’ comment sections.  A majority of the responses will show nothing but disdain for the lineup.  Some say the roster isn’t heavy metal enough while others will unfairly ridicule Avenged Sevenfold and charge Korn with being “old.”

My favorite criticism came from a fan that harangued this year’s lineup because it doesn’t compare to the lineup of bands from 2012.  Of course it doesn’t compare!  In 2012, the festival starred Slayer, Anthrax, Motörhead, and Slipknot.  Arguably, that’s the greatest Mayhem lineup of all-time.  Organizers could go a decade without booking a line up better than the one they put together in 2012.  Avenged Sevenfold and Korn would probably say the same thing.

All bitching and moaning aside, A7X is amazing in concert and Korn are legends.  Meanwhile, the other main stage inhabitants, Asking Alexandria and Trivium, have both shredded Mayhem before.  What all this means is whether you see the Mayhem Festival in Tinley Park, Burgettstown, or Oklahoma City, you’re in for an amazing day of live music.

By the way, half of the 20 bands scheduled to appear at Mayhem in 2014 have appeared at previous incarnations either on a full time basis or as a fill-in.  That includes all four bands on the main stage—Avenged Sevenfold and Korn shared the main stage for two dates back in 2010.  So those that are carping about this year’s lineup are really carping about the Mayhem Festival in general.

2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival
>>July 5 - San Bernardino, CA @ San Manuel Amphitheatre
>>July 6 - Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
>>July 8 - Auburn, WA @ White River Amphitheatre
>>July 9 - Boise, ID @ Idaho Center Amphitheatre
>>July 11 - Phoenix, AZ @ Ak-Chin Pavilion
>>July 12 - Albuquerque, NM @ Isleta Amphitheatre
>>July 14 - Denver, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre
>>July 16 - St. Louis, MO @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
>>July 17 - Detroit, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theater
>>July 18 - Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom
>>July 19 - Indianapolis, IN @ Kilpsch Music Center
>>July 20 - Chicago, IL @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
>>July 22 - Mansfield, MA @ Xfinity Center
>>July 23 - Saratoga, NY @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center
>>July 25 - Toronto, ON @ Molson Amphitheatre
>>July 26 - Burgettstown, PA @ First Niagra Pavilion
>>July 27 - Hartford, CT @ Xfinity Theatre
>>July 29 - Darien Center, NY @ Darien Lake
>>July 30 - Wantagh, NY @ Nikon Theatre At Jones Beach
>>Aug.1 - Camden, NJ @ Susquehanna Bank Center
>>Aug.2 - Scranton, PA @ The Pavilion At Montage Mountain
>>Aug.3 - Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live
>>Aug.5 - Atlanta, GA @ Lakewood Amphitheatre
>>Aug.7 - Oklahoma City, OK @ OKC Air Park
>>Aug.9 - Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion
>>Aug.10 - The Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

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Aerosmith And Slash Touring Together This Summer

by Noiz 15. April 2014 06:47

Aerosmith And Slash Touring Together This Summer

"You know what?  We're still f**king together, we still have the passion, and we still fight and we still make up and it's still alive.  It's still rock & roll." – Steven Tyler, April 8, 2014

On July 10, Aerosmith kicks off the North American leg of their “Let Rock Rule World Tour 2014.”  On opening night they’ll be in Wantagh, New York for a show at the Jones Beach Theatre.  Their trek of the United States and Canada ends Sept. 12 with a performance at Open Hearth Park in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Highlights of their outing include Tinley Park on July 25, The Gorge Amphitheatre on Aug. 16, and The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on Aug. 25. 

“The Bad Boys from Boston” rock their hometown on July 16.  Well, it’s not actually Bean Town.  Technically, Aerosmith will be in Mansfield at the Xfinity Center.

Aerosmith in Europe
Before melting the faces off of North American rock fans, Aerosmith will gallivant around Europe for a month and a half.  Their tour of the Old World begins May 14 in Istanbul, Turkey and concludes July 2 in Kiev, Ukraine.  Yes, they’re going to play the tranquil and peaceful nation of Ukraine.  Maybe “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” can bring a little sanity to that part of the world.

Other countries on their itinerary include Bulgaria, Lithuania, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. 

Slash
Aerosmith is not hitting the road all by their lonesome.  They’ll be joined by legendary axe man Slash.  Officially, the marquee will read: “Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.” 

Slash and Aerosmith are huge fans of one another.  Mr. Saul Hudson cites America’s top selling band, as well as their classic album Rocks, as major influences.

“Aerosmith is one of my all-time favorite bands, and one of the greatest rock ‘n roll bands of all time. It’s an honor for me to go out and tour with them and keep the rock ‘n roll banner flying high.” – Slash

This won’t be the first time Aerosmith and Slash have figuratively shared a tour bus.  In 1988, Slash’s old band, Guns N’ Roses opened for Aerosmith during an arena tour of North America.

Music From Another Dimension!
Aerosmith doesn’t have a new album to promote.  Instead, they’ll be doubling down on their last release, 2012’s Music from Another Dimension!  It’s their first studio offering in nearly a dozen years.  Even though it peaked at number five the album didn’t sell as well as Aerosmith had wished.

According to the band, the underperformance wasn’t the material’s fault.  Joe Perry thinks it’s one of the best albums Aerosmith has “made in years and years.”  They blame sluggish sales on their record company.

Music From Another Dimension! was Aerosmith’s last album for Columbia Records.  Weeks before it hit store shelves the head of the label quit.  The turmoil at the top basically eliminated all promotion for the album, and to make matters worse, they didn’t really tour to support it. 

"How refreshing after 10 years to get f**ked by your label again.  God I missed that." – Steven Tyler

During their upcoming jaunt around the globe look for the band to play a bunch of tracks from Music From Another Dimension!  As for the rest of their set list, it will depend on the city and the venue.

Whisky A Go Go
To celebrate the announcement of their pending tour, Aerosmith played an intimate gig at Los Angeles’ Whisky a Go Go.  The famous California venue was the site of Aerosmith’s very first performance on the West Coast (as well as their first gig west of the Mississippi).  Aerosmith played the Whisky way back in December of 1973.

"Ladies and genitals!  Welcome to the Whiskey!  You love this band almost as much as I do?" – asked Steven Tyler of the Whisky a Go Go crowd that contained lucky fans, members of the media, and special guests.

After being introduced by a local deejay, Aerosmith rocked “Draw The Line,” “Same Old Song and Dance,” “Pink,” and “Walk This Way.”  Then Slash came out on stage and together they performed “Mama Kin” and “Train Kept a Rollin’.”

As everyone exited the stage, Mr. Tyler exclaimed: “Rock and roll is forever!” 

No Big Deal
It wasn’t too long ago that Aerosmith was on the verge of an implosion.  They were either going to call it quits or replace Steven Tyler.  Now in 2014, especially at the press conference that announced their world tour, the band seems to have put all their differences behind them.

I mention their recent turmoil as preface to the following revelation.  Guitarist Brad Whitford did not attend the press conference that announced the tour nor did he perform with the band at the Whisky.  He was unable to attend due to a previous engagement (according to Joe Perry’s Twitter account he was jamming with the Hendrix Experience).

Don’t worry.  Whitford is still in Aerosmith and he will be with them when they go out on tour.  Don’t read anything into his absence.  He’s was unable to attend the big event due to a previous engagement and that’s it.  I wanted to let you know so when you see images or video of Aerosmith and Slash at the Whisky a Go Go, and you don’t see Brad, you won’t panic. 

Graffiti
Now, here’s how you promote a tour.  Joe Perry and famous street artist Risk spray painted “Aerosmith Let Rock Rule 4-8-14” on buildings in downtown Los Angeles.  Joey Krammer apparently did the same thing with street artist Chunk in downtown Austin.  The graffiti teams continued to tag bare walls for several nights.

While a great marketing campaign it was also very illegal.  In a TMZ story about the vandalism, police told the alphabet site that had they caught Perry in the act he would have been arrested.

TMZ did catch Perry red-handed (red as in the color of spray paint).  The site snapped photos of Perry and Risk tagging a wall outside of a production studio in downtown Los Angeles.  The wall was supposed to be used for a photo shoot the very next day but it had to be postponed because of the pro-Aerosmith doodles.  Fortunately for Perry and Risk, the owner of the defaced building is an Aerosmith fan and did not press charges.

Perry’s Response
TMZ asked Perry to respond to his vandalism and the guitarist said he’ll “let the music do the talking.”  That folks is how a real rock star deals with the press.  You don’t grovel.  You don’t obfuscate.  You don’t wax philosophical about the artistic process.  You just shrug it off. 

I’m not condoning what Perry did nor do I condone not taking responsibility for your actions… unless you’re a rock star.  If you’re Joe Perry—if you’re the lead guitarist for America’s greatest rock band—it’s perfectly acceptable to “let the music do the talking.” 

Basically, when you’re a rocker you shouldn’t apologize for being bad.  You’re supposed to be bad!

Aerosmith and Slash
This summer there are a lot of great rock bands selling concert tickets—KISS, Def Leppard, Motely Crüe, and Queen—but none of them are like Aerosmith and Slash.  Aerosmith is one of the last great rock bands capable of selling out stadiums and whose sound has vestiges in the blues.  Meanwhile, Slash is one of the last, true rock and roll guitar gods.

There’s going to be a lot of great live rock music played this summer.  There will probably be shows with more thrills, more pyrotechnics, and more makeup than Aerosmith and Slash.  Yet, it’s doubtful any show will surpass “Let Rock Rule” in quality and importance.

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Toby Keith 2014 Tour And The Country Music Business

by Noiz 1. April 2014 08:39

Toby Keith 2014 Tour And The Country Music Business

Toby Keith is getting sued by a Tucson Mall.

Okay, it’s not exactly TK that’s getting served, but the operators of Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill.  The restaurateurs are being sued for stepping out on their $1 million a year lease agreement (their monthly rent was more than $77,000). 

The restaurant abruptly closed on March 7 after just 14 months of slinging slop and serving water-down drinks.

Toby Keith has little to do with that diner beyond being part of a licensing agreement.  He had, however, made promotional appearances at the location.

The lawsuit will not affect Keith’s pocketbook or his upcoming tour.

Keith is calling his 2014 musical odyssey the “Shut Up & Hold On Tour.”  The trek begins May 25 in Forest City, Iowa at the Tree Town Music Festival.  It ends Oct. 18 in Laughlin, Nevada at the Laughlin Event Center. 

On June 28, Toby Keith will be in Bristow, Virginia for a show at Jiffy Lube Live.  On July 13, Tinley Park welcomes Toby Keith to the First Midwest Bank Amphitheater.  Then on July 25, Keith performs at PNC Bank Center in Holmdel, New Jersey.

The tour’s title is taken from the opening track of Keith’s 2013 album, Drinks After Work.  That opus dropped Oct. 29 and debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200.

Going back to the out-of-business restaurant, if Keith had done more than just lend his name to the eatery it would probably still be in business.  Why?  Toby Keith is one of the best businessmen in music.  He’s the Warren Buffett of country music.   

According to Forbes magazine, over the past half-decade he’s never made less than $48 million a year.  In total, in those five years, he’s made an estimated $270 million.  Clearly, the 52-year-old singer songwriter has a knack for making money.

Here’s how he does it...

You and your friend procure Toby Keith tickets. 

A Toby Keith concert generates around $1 million.  Cha-ching!

Deciding to make a night of it, you start the evening off with a little tailgate party in the parking lot.  While there you imbibe some “Wild Shot,” a premium mescal replete with worm (mescal is an alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant). 

Wild Shot is the number one premium mescal in the U.S.  Its label and distribution is owned by Toby Keith.  Cha-ching!

Your responsible tailgate party takes place in the back of a Ford pickup truck.  Obviously, Keith doesn’t own the Ford Motor Company but he does sell them.

Toby Keith has a multi-million dollar endorsement deal with Ford.  Cha-ching!

You and your friend enter the concert venue, but before taking your seats you visit a souvenir stand and buy some Toby Keith t-shirts.

Toby Keith merchandize has helped the singer become one of country music’s wealthiest stars.  Cha-ching!

You and your friend don’t immediately don your new threads.  You’re already wearing a Rascal Flatts t-shirt and your buddy is decked out in Taylor Swift gear.  Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift, as well as Tim McGraw, are all part of Big Machine, a record label partly owned by Toby Keith.

Toby Keith owns a piece of Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, and Tim McGraw.  Cha-ching!

After his awesome show, in which Keith played all your favorite songs (most of which you own), you and your friend decide to get something to eat.  Fortunately, you’re in one of the dozen U.S. cities that have a Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill.  You get a table near the window and double up on the onion rings.

Toby Keith’s involvement in his restaurant chain range from merely having his name on the front door to owning the establishment and the land it sits on.  Either way it’s… Cha-ching!

That my friend is what is called “vertical integration.”  In fact, Forbes calls Keith “the most vertically integrated performer in the music business.”

The above scenario involves what could happen before and after a Toby Keith concert.  Sure, it probably doesn’t happen like that very often, but it illustrates how many bulls Keith has in the rodeo.

To further the growth of his portfolio, Keith is adding more restaurants and signing new acts all the time.  His goal for his restaurants is to serve Wild Shot while hosting gigs by artists signed to his label. 

“I can put them on that 30-city tour. I don’t have to look for a place to play. It’s cost-effective as crap.  They’re in Toby’s house. They’re drinking Toby’s liquor. That’s Toby’s act. And then we’re moving to the next town.” — Toby Keith

Cha-ching!  Cha-ching!

Toby Keith’s business acumen has been blessed with good timing, great marketing, and instant brand name recognition.  Who hasn’t heard of “Toby Keith?”

Yet, Keith’s prowess in the board room stems from another one of his talents.  He knows his audience.

In 2005, the first Toby Keith I Love This Bar and Grill opened in Harrah’s in Las Vegas.  In preparation of the opening, the casino executive in charge of the project, Don Marrandino, asked Keith for a list of his favorite foods.  Keith gave him a rundown that featured a bunch of bar food/down-home dishes including friend bologna sandwiches.

When Keith came to preview the restaurant he noticed that his fried bologna sandwich had been replaced with some hoity toity entree.  Keith told Marrandino that his fans aren’t going to come from miles around “into my bar and grill and look for pecan-crusted catfish.”

The people in charge listened.  They removed the fancy fair and added the fried bologna sandwich to the menu.  They were wise to listen to Keith.  The restaurant tripled its opening month revenue target and by the end of the year it was one of the top-50 grossing eateries in the United States. 

Oh yeah, and the number one dish on the menu is the friend bologna sandwich.

Toby Keith is not beloved by everyone.  He may not be popular beyond country music circles, but then again he doesn’t care.  Keith is not trying to be everyone’s favorite.  He plays to a small, but loyal group of fans.  In doing so, Keith has basically built an empire that has a license to print money.

“A big rock station might play a hit 100-plus times per week.  A country station might play it 50 times. But they’ll play it forever.” — Toby Keith’s manager, TK Kimbrell

Toby Keith is forever.  After all, it may take that long for his wealth to run out.

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There are a few of us here at ClickitTicket who contribute to this blog. We are huge music and sports fans and attend concerts and games on a regular basis.

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